Bunker shot helps Spencer Levin take lead in Phoenix

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Spencer Levin took one last drag on his cigarette, stamped it out in the rough and climbed into the bunker behind the 17th green. He set up quickly, took a quick glance at the hole and splashed out.

Phoenix Open leader Spencer Levin reacts as he misses a birdie putt on the seventh hole. He shot 63 on Friday and is 14-under for 36 holes in the weather-delayed event.  TOM TINGLE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
TOM TINGLE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Phoenix Open leader Spencer Levin reacts as he misses a birdie putt on the seventh hole. He shot 63 on Friday and is 14-under for 36 holes in the weather-delayed event.

The ball landed about 10 feet from the hole, bounced twice and rolled into the cup for an eagle-2 that pushed him to 14-under par Friday in the second round of the Phoenix Open.

A few minutes later, he parred the 18th for 8-under-par 63 and a three-stroke lead.

“Hopefully, I can just keep trying to believe in myself and just keep trying to make my swing, and we’ll see what happens,” Levin said. “I’m going to give it my best shot. It should be fun. I’m looking forward to it.”

Harrison Frazar was 6-under for the round and 11-under overall with three holes left at TPC Scottsdale when play was suspended because of darkness.

“There toward the end it was getting kind of tough to control the ball and to see it,” said Frazar, the St. Jude Classic winner last year. “The temperature dropped, so the ball flies a little differently.”

Webb Simpson, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 6, was third at 8-under along with tour rookie John Huh.

Simpson shot 69 in the last group to finish play on No. 18, and Huh had 66.

“That was probably the darkest I’ve ever played,” Simpson said. “I couldn’t really see anything.”

Former Clemson golfer Kyle Stanley is at 7-under for 36 holes after 66 as he tries to rebound from his devastating loss last week at Torrey Pines.

The 27-year-old Levin, remembered for a hole-in-one and 13th-place tie in the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock while still in school at New Mexico, is winless on the PGA Tour. He came close last year, losing a playoff to Johnson Wagner in the Mayakoba Golf Classic. At Torrey Pines, Levin had a share of the first-round lead after 62, but followed with rounds of 76, 73 and 72 to tie for 43rd.

“Last week, I played great the first round and didn’t play well the rest of the week, but overall I think my game is getting better,” Levin said.

Phil Mickelson finished off 70 at dusk to reach 4- under.

Mark Wilson, coming off a victory two weeks ago in the Humana Challenge, was 3-under after 69.

LOCAL INTEREST

CHARLES HOWELL

Augusta native

Score 69-68

Shots back 9

BLAKE ADAMS

Swainsboro, Ga.

Score 69-70

Shots back 11

KEVIN KISNER

Aiken native

Score 69-71

Shots back 12

BRIAN GAY

Louisville, Ga.*

Score 71-75

Shots back 18

SCOTT BROWN

North Augusta resident

Score 72-75

Shots back 19

* former resident


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